Discussion:
"Policitical Correctness" runnning rampant with comments banned on websites
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Thad Floryan
2013-12-27 06:40:36 UTC
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I did NOT see this article until just a moment ago:

http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Bye-bye-bile-Websites-try-to-nix-nasty-comments-5093807.php
7:53 pm, Thursday, December 26, 2013

" [...]
" Blame anonymity, blame politicians, blame human nature. But a
" growing number of websites are reining in the Wild West of online
" commentary. Companies including Google and the Huffington Post
" are trying everything from deploying moderators to forcing people
" to use their real names in order to restore civil discourse. Some
" sites, such as Popular Science, are banning comments altogether.
" [...]

Sigh. :-(

Thad
Thad Floryan
2013-12-27 06:44:16 UTC
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Post by Thad Floryan
http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Bye-bye-bile-Websites-try-to-nix-nasty-comments-5093807.php
7:53 pm, Thursday, December 26, 2013
[...]
I wrote that SFGate Reader Comments are now "invisible" to me due to
some blocking (hosts file or Ghostery or NoScript, I dunno).

That's a real shame because so many articles that appear on SFGate
are poorly researched and written and it's in the Reader Comments
one finds more detail and very often links to other more informative
websites.

Thad
Keith Keller
2013-12-27 07:04:25 UTC
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Post by Thad Floryan
Post by Thad Floryan
http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Bye-bye-bile-Websites-try-to-nix-nasty-comments-5093807.php
7:53 pm, Thursday, December 26, 2013
[...]
I wrote that SFGate Reader Comments are now "invisible" to me due to
some blocking (hosts file or Ghostery or NoScript, I dunno).
If it's Ghostery, you can unblock Viafoura (though I'm not sure why
you'd want to, as it's awful).
Post by Thad Floryan
That's a real shame because so many articles that appear on SFGate
are poorly researched and written and it's in the Reader Comments
one finds more detail and very often links to other more informative
websites.
It's also in Reader Comments that you find the rampant trolling,
namecalling, hate speech, and blatant misinformation that has been
prompting the above comment blocking and disabling being done by many
sites. IME too often the chaff overwhelms the wheat on many of these
comment forums (and it has gotten much worse on sfgate since their
changeover).

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
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Peter Lawrence
2013-12-27 07:43:39 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
It's also in Reader Comments that you find the rampant trolling,
namecalling, hate speech, and blatant misinformation that has been
prompting the above comment blocking and disabling being done by many
sites. IME too often the chaff overwhelms the wheat on many of these
comment forums (and it has gotten much worse on sfgate since their
changeover).
Not all sites should allow anonymous users. Not all sites should ban
anonymous users. I think it will work best when there's a choice of posting
anonymously on some sites, but requiring people to use their real names on
other sites. But let the free market decide. I think there's a market for
BOTH types of sites on the internet.


- Peter
Thad Floryan
2013-12-27 07:57:44 UTC
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Post by Peter Lawrence
[...]
Not all sites should allow anonymous users. Not all sites should ban
anonymous users. I think it will work best when there's a choice of
posting anonymously on some sites, but requiring people to use their
real names on other sites. But let the free market decide. I think
there's a market for BOTH types of sites on the internet.
Hi Peter,

Agreed 100%. That's why we (Yahoo group owners and moderators) vet new
members to groups before permitting unmoderated posting. We have a guy
from Morocco on posting hold right now for extremely suspicious joining
nearly every Linux group on the planet and attempting to post newbie-
level drivel and never responding to email.

What I see as worst-case unfettered bedlam and insanity (and so does
Google which refuses to archive the group) consider this Usenet group:

alt.os.linux.ubuntu

as an insane free-for-all with about 95% off-topic postings full of vile
profanity attacking the other subscribers. I gave up on it even though
there was a recent lull of attacks and profanity (which reached a new
peak on 25 December 2013).

Thad
poldy
2013-12-28 18:37:40 UTC
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Post by Peter Lawrence
Post by Keith Keller
It's also in Reader Comments that you find the rampant trolling,
namecalling, hate speech, and blatant misinformation that has been
prompting the above comment blocking and disabling being done by many
sites. IME too often the chaff overwhelms the wheat on many of these
comment forums (and it has gotten much worse on sfgate since their
changeover).
Not all sites should allow anonymous users. Not all sites should ban
anonymous users. I think it will work best when there's a choice of posting
anonymously on some sites, but requiring people to use their real names on
other sites. But let the free market decide. I think there's a market for
BOTH types of sites on the internet.
- Peter
Companies like Google wants to enforce real names to track for
advertising purposes. So they will push you to sign up for Google Plus,
convert all GMail accounts to it, require Google + for Youtube comments,
etc..

So it's not about making things more pleasant. It's about their own
financial objectives.
Peter Lawrence
2013-12-29 02:37:27 UTC
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Post by poldy
Post by Peter Lawrence
Post by Keith Keller
It's also in Reader Comments that you find the rampant trolling,
namecalling, hate speech, and blatant misinformation that has been
prompting the above comment blocking and disabling being done by many
sites. IME too often the chaff overwhelms the wheat on many of these
comment forums (and it has gotten much worse on sfgate since their
changeover).
Not all sites should allow anonymous users. Not all sites should ban
anonymous users. I think it will work best when there's a choice of posting
anonymously on some sites, but requiring people to use their real names on
other sites. But let the free market decide. I think there's a market for
BOTH types of sites on the internet.
- Peter
Companies like Google wants to enforce real names to track for
advertising purposes. So they will push you to sign up for Google Plus,
convert all GMail accounts to it, require Google + for Youtube comments,
etc..
So it's not about making things more pleasant. It's about their own
financial objectives.
Of course, that's the main object for companies like Google. That said,
there are real benefits for having discussions sites where one is required
to post using their real names.


- Peter
Thad Floryan
2013-12-27 07:47:47 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Post by Thad Floryan
Post by Thad Floryan
http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Bye-bye-bile-Websites-try-to-nix-nasty-comments-5093807.php
7:53 pm, Thursday, December 26, 2013
[...]
I wrote that SFGate Reader Comments are now "invisible" to me due to
some blocking (hosts file or Ghostery or NoScript, I dunno).
If it's Ghostery, you can unblock Viafoura (though I'm not sure why
you'd want to, as it's awful).
Hi Keith,

Sigh. The two times I used a Live Linux CD to see what the ViaFoura
commenting looked like, I was very *UN*inpressed -- it's junk.
Post by Keith Keller
Post by Thad Floryan
That's a real shame because so many articles that appear on SFGate
are poorly researched and written and it's in the Reader Comments
one finds more detail and very often links to other more informative
websites.
It's also in Reader Comments that you find the rampant trolling,
namecalling, hate speech, and blatant misinformation that has been
prompting the above comment blocking and disabling being done by many
sites. IME too often the chaff overwhelms the wheat on many of these
comment forums (and it has gotten much worse on sfgate since their
changeover).
I usually read articles of interest to me that really don't seem to
attract much "bile" but there have been times that over 80% of the
comments of an SFGate article have been deleted or suppressed. More
often I'd see some informative comments frequently backed-up with
"good" website URLs that I would also read (and that is what I really
miss now). Posting reference URLs in 'Reader Comments' is often what
I'd to simply to enlighten others.

For example, consider the Fukushima disaster. Nearly every time SFGate
ran an article about it I'd cite two articles from Japan Times that show
the Fukushima site was originally 100% safe from tsunamis until the
TEPCO idiots lowered the site to just-above sea level noting General
Electric is also to blame for its technical incompetemce.

Here are the two articles (a 2-part series) with pictures and diagrams
and in English noting SFGate would never do the kind of research at which
I excel and made a lot of money doing over the years:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110713a2.html part 1

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110714a2.html part 2

Thad
Keith Keller
2013-12-27 17:02:25 UTC
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Post by Thad Floryan
I usually read articles of interest to me that really don't seem to
attract much "bile" but there have been times that over 80% of the
comments of an SFGate article have been deleted or suppressed. More
often I'd see some informative comments frequently backed-up with
"good" website URLs that I would also read (and that is what I really
miss now). Posting reference URLs in 'Reader Comments' is often what
I'd to simply to enlighten others.
Here is the big challenge with forums like sfgate: you have no idea if
your logic is even reaching those who wish to be enlightened. Before
the ViaFoura fiasco, I would often post comments on topics in which I
was interested, and attempt to support my serious comments with facts
and logical assertions. These comments would be drowned out by dozens
of trolling comments by these ''anonymous'' users. Would rational
people really put up with seeing those stupid comments on the off-chance
of reaching one reasonable comment?
Post by Thad Floryan
For example, consider the Fukushima disaster. Nearly every time SFGate
ran an article about it
To be fair, sfgate shouldn't be fact-checking these articles, which
likely come from AP. sfgate should focus on local fact-checking, though
you're right that they do not do this very well either.


--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
see X- headers for PGP signature information
David Kaye
2013-12-27 20:41:57 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Here is the big challenge with forums like sfgate: you have no idea if
your logic is even reaching those who wish to be enlightened.
The problem with reader comments is the same problem talkradio has: Too many
uninformed people want to talk, but mainly to hear themselves. I've long
been an opponent of talkradio hosts taking listener calls because I don't
care what "Joe in Moraga" has to say. Well, this has spread to the web.

Invariably, and I do mean invariably, there are people who will say negative
things about any subject imaginable, especially those with no known negative
angle. Well, they'll find a way to say something nasty anyway.

The thing is that it really makes no difference whether a person posts or
not. I sometimes do, but I'm not even sure why. On any given major (and
most minor) news stories there will be hundreds of comments, and nobody is
going to read through all of them. They'll see the top 5 or 10 before they
scroll off, so I expect that a given post will be read by maybe 20 people.
I can reach more people ranting in the BART subway...
Keith Keller
2013-12-28 06:06:38 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
The problem with reader comments is the same problem talkradio has: Too many
uninformed people want to talk, but mainly to hear themselves. I've long
been an opponent of talkradio hosts taking listener calls because I don't
care what "Joe in Moraga" has to say. Well, this has spread to the web.
I doubt that this is an unusual phenomenon. It's been on usenet since
at least Eternal September (and from my short time on usenet before
then, it certainly existed to a certain degree). Once a medium can
support a certain number of participants the probability of it being
abused by trolls approaches 1 very quickly.

Of course, this can go the other way: I feel like usenet has largely
benefitted from its long-predicted demise, because with fewer users we
get fewer trolls, malcontents, and clueless users, and it's easier to
both educate the educable and ignore the uneducable. (The number of
dolts is still nonzero, but it's almost impossible to make this number
zero without fairly active moderation.)

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
see X- headers for PGP signature information
David Kaye
2013-12-28 09:04:41 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Once a medium can
support a certain number of participants the probability of it being
abused by trolls approaches 1 very quickly.
Lewis Mumford, the famous social anthropologist, said that a community
reaches optimum size and then must adjust its structure to deal with changes
in the way people relate. Burning Man certainly has shown that. A group of
100 people burning a plywood effigy of Larry's ex-girlfriend is a far cry
from a group of 50,000 people who must have a police force, sanitation, and
year-round management infrastructure in order to keep people from killing
each other and themselves. It appears in regard to online forums that the
wider the reach, the more the comments must be moderated or the whole thing
dissolves into chaos.
Post by Keith Keller
Of course, this can go the other way: I feel like usenet has largely
benefitted from its long-predicted demise, because with fewer users we
get fewer trolls, malcontents, and clueless users, and it's easier to
both educate the educable and ignore the uneducable.
I'm still a big fan of Usenet for that reason. I get more useful info on
Usenet forums than I get on any particular website forums. And I think that
besides the diminishing number of participants it's also the fact that using
Usenet requires a certain skill level not present in web forums. It's the
ham radio thing, I think. Require people to pass a license test and it
doesn't dissolve into what CB radio became.
sms
2014-03-26 16:18:58 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by Keith Keller
Here is the big challenge with forums like sfgate: you have no idea if
your logic is even reaching those who wish to be enlightened.
The problem with reader comments is the same problem talkradio has: Too many
uninformed people want to talk, but mainly to hear themselves. I've long
been an opponent of talkradio hosts taking listener calls because I don't
care what "Joe in Moraga" has to say. Well, this has spread to the web.
Some shows, like Ronn Owen's show has enough regular callers that the
host can choose the entertaining callers. Ronn will often let callers on
that make fools of themselves and it's good radio. Yesterday he had
someone challenging him to explain where in the constitution
contraception is mentioned. Ronn made short work of him.
q***@gmail.com
2015-12-07 03:58:59 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by Keith Keller
Here is the big challenge with forums like sfgate: you have no idea if
your logic is even reaching those who wish to be enlightened.
The problem with reader comments is the same problem talkradio has: Too many
uninformed people want to talk, but mainly to hear themselves. I've long
been an opponent of talkradio hosts taking listener calls because I don't
care what "Joe in Moraga" has to say. Well, this has spread to the web.
Invariably, and I do mean invariably, there are people who will say negative
things about any subject imaginable, especially those with no known negative
angle. Well, they'll find a way to say something nasty anyway.
The thing is that it really makes no difference whether a person posts or
not. I sometimes do, but I'm not even sure why. On any given major (and
most minor) news stories there will be hundreds of comments, and nobody is
going to read through all of them. They'll see the top 5 or 10 before they
scroll off, so I expect that a given post will be read by maybe 20 people.
I can reach more people ranting in the BART subway...
So you want to stop them from talking, or prevent anybody else hearing a message you don't like? Free speech - at least our version of it - still enshrines your right to not have to listen to it. Walk away. Or stay and rebut. That's your choice. Blocking it, for everybody, shouldn't be.
David Kaye
2015-12-14 05:23:53 UTC
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Post by q***@gmail.com
So you want to stop them from talking, or prevent anybody else hearing a
message
you don't like? Free speech - at least our version of it - still
enshrines your
right to not have to listen to it. Walk away. Or stay and rebut. That's
your choice.
Blocking it, for everybody, shouldn't be.
Websites (so far) a not considered public utilities, and as such, can't be
compelled to protect speech they disagree with. It is a slippery slope,
though, because some entities such as Comcast want to be puiblic utilities
but also want the right to restrict content they disagree with.

But so far, websites have been interpreted as the equivalent of newspapers,
and therefore allowed to restrict content for any reaon in the same way that
newspapers can do this.




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https://www.avast.com/antivirus
Roy
2015-12-17 13:59:18 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by q***@gmail.com
So you want to stop them from talking, or prevent anybody else hearing a
message
you don't like? Free speech - at least our version of it - still
enshrines your
right to not have to listen to it. Walk away. Or stay and rebut. That's
your choice.
Blocking it, for everybody, shouldn't be.
Websites (so far) a not considered public utilities, and as such, can't be
compelled to protect speech they disagree with. It is a slippery slope,
though, because some entities such as Comcast want to be puiblic utilities
but also want the right to restrict content they disagree with.
But so far, websites have been interpreted as the equivalent of newspapers,
and therefore allowed to restrict content for any reaon in the same way that
newspapers can do this.
Yale students sign petition to repeal the first amendment


David Kaye
2015-12-18 07:15:56 UTC
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Post by Roy
Yale students sign petition to repeal the first amendment
http://youtu.be/KJVZa9_Ha5c
That's as old as the hills, or at least my college days when the First
Amendment was presented as a petition and 90% of people refused to sign it,
some saying it was "communist" or seditious, etc.

Thad Floryan
2013-12-27 23:21:46 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
[...] Posting reference URLs in 'Reader Comments' is often what
I'd do to simply to enlighten others. ["do" missing in original
due to cold, stiff fingers at the keyboard :-)]
Here is the big challenge with forums like sfgate: you have no idea if
your logic is even reaching those who wish to be enlightened. Before
the ViaFoura fiasco, I would often post comments on topics in which I
was interested, and attempt to support my serious comments with facts
and logical assertions. These comments would be drowned out by dozens
of trolling comments by these ''anonymous'' users. Would rational
people really put up with seeing those stupid comments on the off-chance
of reaching one reasonable comment?
Touché.

Previously it did seem that many anonymous SFGate posters would both post
snarky [SFgate is where I learned that word] comments and thumb-down just
about everything just to be nasty. Due to ViaFoura since mid-October I'd
forgotten about many of the 'bad' aspects of Reader Comments at SFgate.
Post by Keith Keller
For example, consider the Fukushima disaster. Nearly every time SFGate
ran an article about it
To be fair, sfgate shouldn't be fact-checking these articles, which
likely come from AP. sfgate should focus on local fact-checking, though
you're right that they do not do this very well either.
And then some anon commenter clicks the [Abuse] button for no good reason.

Several years ago there was an article about homes sinking into the
ground due to a sinkhole so I posted this URL to show how sinkholes
form since the SFGate article (actually probably AP) was devoid of any
real contents or information:

Loading Image...

[Hmmm, the above URL is no longer valid so don't bother clicking now; if
anyone wants to see that great diagram, I saved it here in April 2010:

Loading Image... 64kB

Someone clicked [ABUSE] for my posting that URL. I contacted SFGate and
they restored my deleted one-line comment with that URL. In other words,
SFGate staff appears to NEVER review any complaints and simply blindly
acts on [false] complaints as do trained monkeys. Interns?

Perhaps SFGate did us a favor replacing the old comment system, but
their choice of ViaFoura was a bad decision and now I have to do more
sleuthing to find additional information missing from SFGate-posted
articles that I'd often find in Reader Comments.

Thad
David Kaye
2013-12-28 09:07:14 UTC
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Post by Thad Floryan
Someone clicked [ABUSE] for my posting that URL. I contacted SFGate and
they restored my deleted one-line comment with that URL. In other words,
SFGate staff appears to NEVER review any complaints and simply blindly
acts on [false] complaints as do trained monkeys. Interns?
Given that SFGate probably makes pennies on the dollar compared to what the
Chron used to make, I'd assume that yes they are interns, or perhaps trained
monkeys, though interns work for less.
Julian Macassey
2013-12-28 16:29:06 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Given that SFGate probably makes pennies on the dollar compared to what the
Chron used to make, I'd assume that yes they are interns, or perhaps trained
monkeys, though interns work for less.
Actually unpiad interns are cheaper than monkeys or
slaves. With monkeys and slaves, you have to provide room and
board. Unpaid iterns have to feed and shelter themselves.
--
"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization
of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and
fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world."
- Carl Sagan
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